Research has shown that as many as 2 in 5 LGBTQ+ employees in the construction industry don’t feel that they can comfortably be open about their sexual or gender identities with their colleagues. Although the industry as a whole has made positive progress over recent years regarding inclusivity, there is still some way to go. In general, there is a lack of understanding regarding the LGBTQ+ community – something we feel we have a responsibility for improving within our own four walls here at Gratte Brothers Group. So, to celebrate Pride month, we created a campaign that was truly tailored to the challenges our industry faces.
As a family business, we’re passionately committed to retaining that sense of family within our company. Family units should feel like a safe space for all members – somewhere they feel accepted, celebrated and safeguarded. To promote this, our campaign centred around awareness and inclusivity. While this was an internal campaign, we wanted to share this to our News section as we felt it needed a permanent place to live to show our support and unwavering allyship. Here are a few highlights from the week’s content;
What is Pride?
This year marks the 50th anniversary of the UK’s first Pride march. Starting as an uprising in the U.S. triggered by police brutality, Pride has since become an embodiment of its name; bringing together the LGBTQ+ community to proudly celebrate their identities. Pride sees the LGBTQ+ community come together in love, friendship and defiance to celebrate the progress the community has made and to highlight the importance of inclusion and awareness of the challenges they face.
Throughout Pride month, you may see placards or posters saying either ‘The First Pride was a Riot’ or ‘Pride is a Riot’. This is because Pride was founded in response to, and still commemorates, the June 1969 Stonewall Riots.
The Stonewall Riots began on the 28th of June 1969 when the LGBTQ+ customers of New York City’s Stonewall Inn resisted police raids on their bar. The LGBTQ+ community in New York had endured decades of raids and brutality at the hands of the NYC police’s ‘Public Moral Squad’.
In the raid that led to the Stonewall Riots, two police officers entered the Stonewall Inn and demanded to ‘check the sex’ of some of the bar’s customers by physical examination. The Stonewall Riots gave a new impetus to the ‘Gay Liberation’ movement around the globe.
A key part of this movement was to encourage conversations about the lives and perceptions of LGBTQ+ people and to fight for radical change in the way that LGBTQ+ people were treated by society.
Pride continues to fight for necessary LGBTQ+ rights in the twenty-first century. It is still illegal in 74 countries to associate as LGBTQ+ and is even punishable by death in 12 of those countries.
Governments in the USA have also taken steps to roll back the protection of healthcare rights for transgender individuals in recent years.
Some of the most prevalent challenges facing the community today include; violence; discrimination; political prosecution; the lack of acceptance by family members, mainstream media, professional sport, or sections of society; and the recognition of minorities within the LGBTQ+ community.
There are charities dedicated to tackling these issues in numerous ways. One of the best things you can do to help is to raise awareness through your words and actions, or donate what you can to a relevant charity.
An ally refers to an individual who is not necessarily a part of the LGBTQ+ community themselves, but actively supports the issues faced by the community and works to create an inclusive environment wherever they may be.
Allyship is particularly important within the workplace, given that Stonewall’s ‘LGBT in Britain at Work’ report found that 35% of LGBTQ+ staff have at some point hidden that fact that they are LGBTQ+ out of fear of discrimination. So, it is important that members outside of the community do all they can to create a safe inclusive environment where people are free to be themselves.
To be an ally in the workplace, make sure you’re doing the following;
- Listen to the language your colleagues refer to themselves as. Apply whichever pronouns they use for themselves.
- Be discreet with the information your colleagues share with you. Always check whether or not they are happy for information to be repeated or whether they would prefer it to be kept confidential.
- Be aware of how vast the LGBTQ+ community is. To be a true ally, you must make room for all the voices within the community within your inclusivity.
- Be visible. To make the most inclusive environment possible, visibly show your support! Have conversations, strive to learn more about the community and actively support relevant causes and LGBTQ+ rights.
- Speak up! If you hear people make inappropriate comments or ‘jokes’, call them out!
As a business, we boast an average service length of 16.5 years—testament to the inclusive culture we work so hard to protect. We operate a zero-tolerance policy when it comes to any form of homophobic, transphobic or similar behaviour, and stand in proud support of the LGBTQ+ community.